San Jose, CA. – April 25, 2019 – The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the value of chiropractic care, announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Portland, Ore., has hired its first full-time doctor of chiropractic (DC), Samantha Stolzel, DC. Stolzel is an alumnus of University of Western States.
The addition to the full-time care team at the Portland VA facility was the result, in part, of a 2018 federal bill approving the expansion of chiropractic care services at the nation’s VA health facilities. Also contributing to the development was a 2013 Oregon State Legislature joint resolution, which was unanimously passed, to recommend adding a full-time DC at the VA facility.
“We are thrilled to see this momentum in expanding chiropractic care at our nation’s VA medical centers and clinics,” said Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, F4CP. “It is also gratifying that the Oregon state legislature recognized the efficacy of chiropractic care and urged its VA health facilities years ago to expand access to our nation’s Veterans, who need and benefit immensely from such care.”
Contributing to this state and national effort were the Oregon Chiropractic Association, American Chiropractic Association, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, M.D., and Oregon state Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas), who is also a U.S. Army veteran.
“The welcome addition of a full-time doctor of chiropractic at our state’s largest VA medical center is the result of a long-time, collaborative effort that began years before the joint resolution was passed, but it was worth it,” said Vern Saboe, Jr., DC, director of Governmental Affairs for the Oregon Chiropractic Association. “We are grateful to everyone who played a role in helping more of our veterans receive the care they need. It is time for doctors of chiropractic in other states to lobby their VA so we can expand care access to even more veterans.”
Veterans benefit from chiropractic
Veterans are more likely to report musculoskeletal pain and lack of mobility compared to non-veterans, which often inhibits their daily activities. Since musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) usually begin at a younger age in veterans compared to non-veterans, the limited activity can also contribute to other physical and mental health conditions later in life.
DCs deliver non-pharmacological care for neuro-MSDs which is recommended as part of the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative implemented in 2013 that included new prescribing and care guidelines. Since then, the program has reduced the number of veterans receiving opioids by 45 percent as of June 2018. The addition of more full-time DCs is likely to further reduce opioid prescriptions and usage.
In fact, in a recent op-ed for Newsday, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie wrote about the VA evolving to a holistic approach to pain management that included “non-pharmacological pain treatment options like stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, mindfulness, chiropractic care, nutrition, acupuncture and health coaching, which may reduce reliance on opioids without increasing pain or causing other health problems.”
The VA began providing chiropractic care in 2004 at 26 facilities. As of May 2018, there were 135 DCs delivering care at 84 VA facilities. Additionally, there are five chiropractic residency trainee positions across five VA chiropractic residency training programs.
Building the momentum
The expansion of chiropractic care at VA hospitals was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which was signed into law in March last year. The legislation calls for expanding the availability of chiropractic services at no fewer than two medical centers or clinics in each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) by no later than Dec. 31, 2019, and at no fewer than 50 percent of all medical centers in each VISN by no later than Dec. 31, 2021.
“We want to keep this force going,” McAllister said. “For our veterans’ sake, we hope chiropractic care will be available in far more than half of VA medical centers by the end of 2021. The evidence-based, collaborative and non-pharmacological care doctors of chiropractic deliver is needed now more than ever. We congratulate the Portland VA on this milestone and look forward to many other facilities following their lead.”
About Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
A not-for-profit organization, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress provides information and education regarding the value of chiropractic care and its role in drug-free pain management. Visit f4cp.org; call 866-901-F4CP (3427).